What if your school could raise more than $2 million in less than 48 hours without making a single phone call? Not only is it possible, one school has already done it. Philanthropic giving to education is increasing, and crowdfunding has changed the way donors are being reached. Nothing is going to replace personal relationships built between development officers and active alumni when soliciting large donations. This change comes in the form of small to moderate-sized contributions and the opportunity the internet provides to reach a much larger group of alumni and potential donors interested in the work your school is doing. Many higher education and K-12 schools have already started to see the impact of crowdfunding on their development efforts.
What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is defined as raising small amounts of money from a large number of people over the internet. Over 2,000 crowdfunding platforms are available online. Sites like GoFundMe and GiveCampus offer a way for students, teachers, clubs and teams, and the school to bring their fundraising efforts into the 21st Century. With these sites, your school can create a fundraising campaign, share it through social media and email, and donations can be made instantly with ease. In general, campaigns for identifiable and specific needs get the best response. Reasonably sized goals that people can get excited about helping to achieve are the best. (Check out more tips for school crowdsourcing)
Since 2014, the practice of crowdfunding for education has been steadily on the rise. In fact, education is one of the most popular categories on these sites — donations have tripled over the last two years with over $100 million raised. What makes it different from the typical telemarketing calls and mailing campaigns that most schools rely on is it simplifies the process. People are more suspicious of marketing calls and giving financial promises or information over the phone. Mailing information has benefits; however, it still requires the potential donor take several more steps to follow through. With crowdfunding, a click on a link takes the donor directly to the campaign’s page where the school’s pitch and donation options are available. The whole process can be completed in a matter of moments.
Who uses crowdfunding?
Everyone. That’s the beauty of the idea. It started as a way to help fund great startup ideas. Artists, filmmakers, businesses and people from all walks of life have used these sources to help turn their dreams into a reality. Students use crowdfunding to offset the cost of their tuition and books when all of their scholarship options have been exhausted. Teachers have set out to raise funds for technology for their classrooms, books and field trips. In higher education, College of the Holy Cross raised nearly $2 million in just 43 hours. No phone calls, mailers or any other the more established methods of fundraising. Instead they went where their alumni are — the internet — making it easier for them to give and then share about their giving on social media.
With philanthropy toward education predicted to grow this year by 6.1%, it’s good to explore every avenue available to your school. Crowdfunding might not bring in huge donations, but it can foster new relationships based on the work being done by your school.